Iowa Heading To Vegas

Jan. 31, 2011

THIS WEEK: The ninth-ranked University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team will travel to Las Vegas for the U.S. Winter Cup Challenge. The Hawkeyes will compete on Thursday in session one starting at noon. Finals action will begin on Saturday at 9:15 p.m. for those who advance through the Thursday session.

IN ACTION FOR IOWA: It will be senior Mike Jiang and sophomore Matt McGrath making the trip to Vegas for the Hawkeyes. Both will be competing on parallel bars. Jiang’s career best on parallel bars is 14.400, a mark he tied this year against Illinois-Chicago. Jiang also scored a 14.300 at Illinois. Matt McGrath posted a 13.400 on the event last week against Illinois, where he led the Hawkeyes with two top-three finishes.

LAST TIME OUT: In a top-ten battle against No. 3 Illinois, the Hawkeyes were handed their first Big Ten loss of the season by a 354.900-339.400 margin. Sophomore Matt McGrath scored a personal best and team season high 14.800 on floor exercise to tie for third. McGrath posted another team season high on vault, as both McGrath and Ben Ketelsen earned a 15.900 to tie for first. Anton Gryshayev placed second on rings (15.1) with a team season high, while Javier Balboa placed fourth on parallel bars with a 14.300.

ONE-UPPER: After setting the school record on rings last week, Sophomore Anton Gryshayev one-upped himself against Illinois to break the record yet again. Gryshayev scored a 15.100, which gives him the top two score on the event in school history. Gryshayev first set the school record on rings with a 14.900 against Illinois-Chicago. The previous holder was Reid Urbain, who scored a 14.800 in 2009. The open-ended scoring system has been in place since 2008.

A NEW ERA: The Hawkeyes will have a new man at the helm this season, as JD Reive was announced to fill the head coaching vacancy left by the retirement of Tom Dunn after his 30th season. Reive is the seventh men’s gymnastics coach in program history. Reive comes from Stanford, where he served as an assistant coach for seven seasons and helped the Cardinal reach four top-three finishes at the NCAA Championships. He was also honored as the Collegiate Gymnastics Association Assistant Coach of the Year on three occasions. Reive also coached the U.S. National Team at the 2009 Toyota Cup in Japan. Reive graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2000. Assisting Reive will be Dmitri Trouch and Brad Virkler.

Mr. ALL-AMERICAN: Iowa’s Mike Jiang walked away from the 2010 season with All-America honors, placing seventh at the NCAA Championships on pommel horse. Jiang scored a 14.550 and a 14.000 to place among the best in the nation. Jiang scored a 13.500 at the NCAA Qualifier to reach the NCAA Championships. Jiang is back this season as one of three seniors on the roster.

HAWKEYE NEWCOMERS: There will be an abundance of youth this season for Iowa, with underclassmen out-numbering upperclassmen by a 12-5 margin. The Hawkeyes will also have six newcommers in the gym this season. Iowa City’s own Lance Alberhasky will compete for the Hawks after being named Iowa Gymnast of the Year. Angelo Bronzino of Aurora (IL), David Dyckman of Foster City (CA), Brandon Hill of Sparks (NV), and Samuel Wright of Lafayette (CO) round out the freshmen. Javier Balboa will also be in his first year at Iowa, transferring as a junior from Mexico’s Instituto Technologico y de Estudious Superiores.

2011 BIG TEN GYMNASTS TO WATCH: Iowa garnered some preseason recognition with the release of the 2011 Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list, which featured Iowa’s own Lance Alberhasky and Javier Balboa. Alberhasky won state titles in five events his senior year, and also placed third on high bar at the Junior Olympic Nationals on top of being a three-time academic All-American. Balboa will be in his first year at Iowa after transferring from Monterrey, Mexico. Balboa placed first on the parallel bars at the 2010 Mexico Nationals. Balboa also placed second in all-around at the 2010 Central American Trials. Balboa is a junior this season.

UP NEXT: Iowa will return to the UI Field House on Feb.11th, resuming Big Ten competition with a match against Minnesota. Start time is 7:00 p.m. Iowa is 50-46 all-time against the Golden Gophers, as 50 is the most all-time wins Iowa has against any opponent.